DEDRYCK BOYATA has thanked Kolo Toure for his support when it looked as though he was heading for the Celtic exit.
The Belgian centre-back hit the headlines for all the right reasons when he scored the only goal of the midweek win over St Johnstone – the 26th unbeaten game against Scottish opposition that matches that of Jock Stein’s Lisbon Lions 50 years ago.
However, it looked as though Boyata was heading back to his homeland with Anderlecht showing interest in this month’s transfer window.
But he looked like a new signing against the Saints and in the 3-0 win over Albion Rovers on Sunday. The 26-year-old revealed why his sudden revival was as satisfying for his mate Toure as it was for him.
Plagued since the summer by a string of injuries to his hamstring and sciatic nerve, Boyata leant on the veteran, a former team-mate at Manchester City.
Toure has played only once since October, but the experienced 35-year-old Ivorian clearly continues to have an important influence within Brendan Rodgers’ squad.
Boyata said: “I’m a grown man, but when you are down you always have players who try to rally around you. Players like Kolo.
“Kolo is a very good person, a very important person in my life. Maybe you don’t know, but when I was at City he was the one who took care of me.
“I have played games alongside him before. So when I was down he was always telling me: ‘Don’t worry, you’ve just got to wait for your chance. When it comes just take it’. So that was what I did.
“He is a special person for me and knows it because I’ve told him before. The relationship I have with him has been deep for a long time.
“When he came into Celtic I was the first one to hug him. You need this kind of person around you just to remind you it is not finished.
“The good thing about Kolo is he is a person with a very good spirit. He doesn’t like to lose. Any player will tell you if Kolo loses in training, it is a very bad day for everybody.
“He has great knowledge of the game and I’ve no doubt about him being a coach.”